Hathor: Creating Community & Cultivating Creativity Through Sound + Vision

A collective of female and female-identified solo electronic music producers, Hathor was conceived as a space to create community, cultivate creativity, and connect with likeminded artists. Named for the fecund Egyptian goddess of sky, motherhood, music and fertility, Hathor is a powerful antidote to a culture and scene that too often pits women against one another instead of encouraging solidarity and mentoring. Members currently include Knifesex (Vanessa Irena), Searmanas (Niabi Aquena), OKTI (Shanda Woods) and Black Heart (Corina Cinkl), but the collective is looking to expand in the future.

Vanessa Irena explains the impetus for Hathor as springing from “feeling very disillusioned about being a woman in the industry and experiencing the erasure that often accompanies it.” But instead of turning inward, she looked outward to female friends and fellow artists. “I thought the idea of a collective of solo female artists could be really cool because it would not only expand our reach and allow us to cross-promote each other, but also establish ourselves as a group of women openly celebrating and contributing to the success of each member, which I think is so vital.”

Vanessa, Niabi and Shanda will all be performing May 19th in Brooklyn at C’Mon Everybody for BFP20, a celebration of 20 years of Tori Amos’ Boys For Pele. Proceeds from the event will be donated to RAINN.

Check out Hathor’s haunting debut mix and our Q+A with each member below:

KNIFESEX (Vanessa Irena)

A sentence that encapsulates your sound:

I have jokingly referred to it as “spiritual music for people not into pan flute so much,” but I suppose if I had to describe the actual sound I would say that it’s ritualistic experimental music that draws elements from trip-hop, industrial, noise, and techno.

A piece of gear you can’t live without:

I’m not really a big gear head but I love my Boss VE-20 vocal pedal

A film that could accompany your music:

It Follows

A mentor who mattered to you:

A have a few: My friends Emma and Mitch who got me to start playing music again in 2003 and also taught me how to use Ableton, my friend Robert who encouraged me to start singing, my bandmates in The Harrow for taking a chance on a total stranger and helping me to realize what I was capable of, and most recently my friend Bunny who mixes all my tracks and has given me a ton of valuable feedback.

A goddess that speaks to you:

It changes but recently I have been working with Isis as a result of receiving an amazing set of Isis Oracle cards from Niabi that are incredibly powerful.

A plan for the future:

I’m working on my first solo record and I would love to eventually put together a show or even a small tour with the four of us.

SEARMANAS (Niabi Aquena)

A sentence that encapsulates your sound:

Desire, loyalty, independence and mettle.

A piece of gear you can’t live without:

I wish I could say it was a grand piano, but I live in a railroad apartment in Brooklyn and well — no space. However since I am piano-less I guess my Korg Volca synth’s.

A film that could accompany your music:

Melancholia by Lars Von Trier.

A mentor who mattered to you:

That would have been my grandfather who was a pianist, he encouraged me to play piano as a child and gave me my love of emotive, sensitive music.

A goddess that speaks to you:

Freyja. Being that my ruling planet for both my rising and sun sign is Venus, Freyja speaks to me as she is a reminder to explore and acknowledge all of our emotions, longings and passions, even those we wish we didn’t possess. She is a warrior. She has no regrets. She follows her heart. She values beauty. Her sexuality is unbridled. Additionally her symbols are flowers and music which is pretty cool.

A plan for the future:

I’d like to release an EP by end of year. I always schedule my releases with major astrological events, so I’ll probably go with the Autumnal Equinox. Day and night is in equality, it feels like a great time to harvest new sounds into the world.

BLACK HEART (Corina Cinkl)

Black Heart – Follow from Corina Cinkl on Vimeo.

A sentence that encapsulates your sound:

Dark electronic pop music, deeply melodic, richly textured.

A piece of gear you can’t live without:

I have been completely in love with the MOOG Minitaur ever since it came out. It has all the qualities I value in gear: it is immediate, intuitive and versatile. Unsurprisingly, the Minitaur is used heavily on every song I have produced in the last two years.

A film that could accompany your music:

Maybe a movie like Drive, but with more irony and dialogue, and less atmosphere of menace? Definitely something themed on love, loss and deep experiences.

A mentor who mattered to you:

I can’t say I have ever had classic mentors but along the way many people have inspired me and taught me so much about music and creativity. Recently I have been working a lot with french musician Normotone and this really has enriched my perspective on drums and programming a lot. My husband who is making music as well and trained as a sound engineer has been a trusted and treasured source of support and challenging for over a decade now. He continues to expand my knowledge of recording and producing, and always encourages me to go for the more difficult path which is so rewarding artistically. As a woman in electronic music, a field that is still infused with latent and blatant sexism, this safe haven of learning and growing is truly invaluable.

A goddess that speaks to you:

Artemis/Diana represents an archetype I strongly relate to: She embodies female independence, a nurturing and wisdom apart from the realm of love, home and relationships. It is a kind of warrior energy that strongly speaks to me and that I continue to aspire to manifest in my creative work and my personal life.

A plan for the future:

I am committed to continue the solo work with my project BLACK HEART both in the studio for a future release and hopefully on a tour later this year in the fall. There are some new collaborations planned, too, that I cannot talk about yet, but that I look forward to very much. And I will devote a huge chunk of my time to get my newly founded record label UNDERWAVES off the ground. My original intention was to just release my own music, but I have since decided to also release other people’s tracks. I hope to build a strong network with other small like-minded labels in the near future and hopefully release the first music that isn’t my own the beginning of the next year.

OKTI (Shanda Woods)

A sentence that encapsulates your sound:

Exploration of tangible, dark melodies, native rhythm, and accessible structure within an infinite universe of electronic sounds AKA I’m still trying to figure that out, might be trying to find my sound for the rest of my life?

A piece of gear you can’t live without:

Seems simple enough, but my computer. Every piece of gear I owned was liquidated when my old band dissolved due to an act of domestic violence against me. Thankfully for friends and amazing people, the kindness and love they showed me, they helped me purchase an instrument that is absolutely invaluable to me: my new computer.

A film that could accompany your music:

Princess Mononoke is a visual and conceptual representation of what I want my music to sound and feel like.

A mentor who mattered to you:

It is very challenging for me to pick just one. I’ve had many mentors along the way. Many living, some departed. Some real, some literary characters. Some that I’ve known intimately through their art, yet have never met. My friends, my students (I teach a lot of indoor cycling and yoga), MY teachers, even those that have harmed me have helped me. It is an extensive list, and I am grateful for every name upon it.

A goddess that speaks to you:

Tori. She is a living, singing, speaking heart-truth goddess.
Kali. She is the righteous strength, and steel edge that the feminine is capable of when pressed.
Hathor. She is the sky and music. I’m honored to take her name for our music collective.
Isis. She is light, nature, power, creation, and magic. Themes I’m trying to sculpt for OKTI
Myself. I’m learning to listen to my Native American blood, my Chickasaw goddess ancestors, and my own heart wisdom.

A plan for the future:

To keep writing, performing, refining OKTI. I want to reach a level of impact broad enough in order to share my story, make change, and help others. I’ve been saved by music most of my life, I want to give that back to anyone that wants to listen or needs to know they are not alone. Music will save us all.